John Denver was a talented musician, a hero in the folk music realm. If he had one musical weakness, though, it was this: he never wrote a song in a minor key. He always wanted to write upbeat music, the kind that makes people smile. But, music, like life, is more complex than that. It is not all major keys and well-timed resolutions. It is not all sunshine on our shoulders and Rocky Mountain highs. But, it is not, for that reason, any less beautiful.
I hail from a generation of spoiled brats. We have faced no Great Depression or World War. We have not stood in bread lines or struggled under the oppression of slavery. We have grown up to believe that life is like a movie, or an 80s sitcom where the worst that should happen is that Mike reads Carol’s diary and then gets a stern but compassionate lecture from Mr. and Mrs. Seaver. When life gets worse than that, or doesn’t resolve, or doesn’t go our way we assume that our song is a train-wreck.
We treat life the way John Denver wrote music: always trying to be happy, and not satisfied with anything
less more. Good music, though, is much more complicated than that, much more varied and intense. And, a good life is not one that always resolves, or that is full of promotions, vacations, and early retirement. Rather, a good life is full of patience, kindness, joy, sacrifice, and love–all of the best qualities that all require suffering, testing, and heartache to grow.
A good life is like a good piece of music, a blend of drama, rest, tension, sadness, and joy skillfully woven into layers so intricate and connected that it is not until the end that such a work is completely understood and appreciated. There is, indeed, reason behind the chaos, and He is an excellent composer.
It is our job to discover this as quickly as possible, and get in time with Him. The symphony plays on, with or without us, but it is so much more beautiful when we are in tune.